Couple Charged In Woman’s Death

  The Toronto Star and National Post report that (p 4-5) a Mississauga couple have been charged with neglecting an autistic relative for more than seven years before the woman was found dead in April. The married couple were charged Monday, nearly four months after the lifeless body of the 23 year old woman was found in the basement of the home she shared with her adopted sister and the woman’s husband. The 31 year-old woman and her 32-year-old husband are charged with criminal negligence causing death and failure to provide the necessities of life.  The accused are to appear today for their bail hearing in a Brampton court.   Toronto Star, July 27, 2005 p A12; National Post, July 27, 2005 p A10    

Brock University’s New Accessibility Co-Ordinator

  Linda Crabtree writes in Saturday’s St. Catharines Standard (p 3) that Brock University is now the only university in Ontario to have a full-time accessibility co-ordinator. Joe Henry’s responsibilities include working to across the university developing strategic plans for the identification and removal of barriers for persons with disabilities.   St. Catharines Standard, July 23, 2005, p E5    

Diner’s Club Event – Granite Brewery

  The Diner’s Club is going to:   Granite Brewery 245 Eglinton Avenue West
(Eglinton & Mount Pleasant)   Monday July 25, 2005
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
     CUISINE:      Canadian/Continental
COST:     $10.00-$20.00   HOSTED BY: Dawn Luke
Please R.S.V.P. to Nancy at (416) 599-2458, ext. 27
or by TTY at (416) 599-5077
by “no later than” July 20, 2005.   Attendant Services available only “upon request”.   Supported by a Toronto Community Service Grant, United Way
and Human Services Canada.    

Federal Court of Appeal Tells Canadians with Disabilities Separate is Equal

  In March, the Federal Court of Appeal handed down a ruling in CCD’s ongoing battle to make VIA Rail’s Renaissance cars accessible that denies the equality rights of Canadians with disabilities.  The decision does not dispute the fact that VIA’s Renaissance cars are inaccessible and present barriers to Canadians with disabilities.  What the Court did was allow VIA’s appeal of the Canadian Transportation Agency decision that found 14 barriers for people with disabilities.  The Court in essence says that the Agency erred by not looking at the whole “network” of passenger services and determining how that “network” could overcome the barriers caused by the Renaissance cars.   “Canadians with disabilities have been told that they cannot have full access. Canadians with disabilities have been told by the Court that it does not matter if the Renaissance cars are inaccessible, as long as some part of the system is accessible.  One judge even suggests that an accessible train once or twice a week may be okay.  Is this equality of opportunity?  Would this be considered acceptable for any other group?  What if women or Aboriginal people were told they could only travel on certain trains once a week, would we consider that acceptable?” asked Marie White, CCD National Chairperson.   In 2000 the Government of Canada gave VIA Rail new money to purchase new passenger rail cars.   The Minister of Transport at that time promised Canadians with disabilities that whatever was purchased would be accessible.  Yet, VIA Rail purchased 139 used surplus cars from Alstrom in France–cars designed for the Chunnel and thus narrower than the standard passenger rail car in Canada.  These cars were refused a license in Britain because they were inaccessible.  Canadians with disabilities therefore have been put in a position of having to fight to ensure that there is an accessible washroom and tie down area in the coach cars for persons who use wheelchairs, that the doorways are wide enough to ensure easy access and that the so called “accessible suite” is fully accessible.   CCD sees the VIA Rail issue as a significant erosion of access.  CCD views the Court of Appeal decision as an erosion of equality.  Canadians with disabilities are being told that they are not equal citizens in this country.  CCD and other disability groups do not accept these regressive actions.  “We have tried to work collaboratively with government but frankly we see little in the way of results.  CCD wants the introduction of strong accessibility regulations.  We no longer trust the “good intentions” and “rhetoric” of either the industry or the government,” said Pat Danforth Chair of CCD’s Transportation Committee.   CCD has recently conducted a study of transportation accessibility in Britain, Europe, United States and Australia and compared it to Canadian access standards.  Canada is by far the least accessible and progressive.  CCD’s report “Moving Backward: Canada’s State of Transportation Accessibility in An International Context” clearly documents the erosion of access in Canada.  The report is available on CCD’s website at   On 2 May 2005, CCD made application to the Supreme Court of Canada to appeal the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision in this case.   From CCD: A Voice of Our Own. April 2005  Issue 23 No.2    

Deaf-Blind Man Posed Air Safety Hazard

  The National Post reports (p4) that a transportation tribunal has ruled, citing safety concerns as a top priority, that Air Canada was right to insist a deaf-blind man travel with an attendant. The Canadian Transportation Agency found that Air Canada’s requirement that Eddy Morten travel with an attendant from Vancouver to San Francisco last fall was not an “undue obstacle.”   It said the policy was justified because to allow him to travel alone could have endangered “not only his own safety but the safety of all passengers” by slowing down the evacuation process in the event of an emergency.   National Post, July 13, 2005, p. A6.

Safe Schools Act Unfairly Targets Minorities

  Richard Brennan in the Toronto Star and Antonella Artuso in the Toronto Sun report (p 5) that according to Human Rights Commissioner Keith Norton, Ontario’s strict-discipline school policies are unfairly targeting black male student and the disabled. In handing down his final annual report yesterday, Norton noted the commission has launched complaints against the Ministry of Education and the Toronto District School Board for their application of the Safe Schools Act. Norton said “young male African-Canadians” are frequently singled out by these zero-tolerance
polices, as are students suffering from disabilities. The commission
has received more than a dozen complaints about the Safe Schools Act, which has come under criticism for being inflexible.   The act, passed in 2000, introduced automatic suspensions and expulsions for serious offences such as those involving drugs, alcohol, weapons or assault.
Toronto Star, July 13, 2005, A14, Toronto Sun, July 13, 2005, 22.    

Self Protection Skills for Women with Mobility Disabilities and Women who are Blind/Low Vision

  Tobias House Attendant Services (Access to Shelter Project) and Wen-do women’s Self Deffence is offering  Self Protection Skills for Women with Mobility Disabilities and Women with who are Blind/Low Vision.
This 8-week course is an opportunity to discover ways to use your body, your wheelchair or other assistive devices as powerful protection tools to defend yourself. 
We will also discuss strategies that address outdoor and indoor safety.
We reinforce the positive aspects of the way that women are currently dealing with the threat and fear of violence in our lives. We do not issue a list of do’s and don’t’s, but share information to encourage self trust and success!
This course is fun and powerful! 
We are offering an evening and an afternoon course starting in September 2005.  Spaces are limited so register early!!
To register please call: Fran Odette at 416-968-3422 Ext. 30   
Attendant Services are available upon request – Light refreshments provided.   AFTERNOON COURSE  Mondays from 1:00 – 4:00pm
Starting September 12 till Nov.7, 2005
25 Elm Street – at Dundas – 2nd floor
2 blocks North of Dundas Subway stop 
EVENING COURSE Tuesdays from 6:00 – 9:00pm
Starting: September 6 till Nov. 1, 2005
The Anne Johnston Health Station
2398 Yonge Street – Yonge and Eglinton area
2 ½ blocks North of Eglinton Subway

WEN-DO WOMEN’S SELF DEFENCE is a registered charity since 1972.
The National Crime Prevention Strategy generously supports this project.    

Airline Warned About Serving Disabled

  The Globe and Mail reports (p 11-12) that Air Canada has been told by federal regulators to overhaul its on-line reservation system to better accommodate people with disabilities. Air Canada’s system “lacks essential information for persons with disabilities booking on-line,” the Canadian Transportations Agency said in a ruling released yesterday. The CTA ordered Air Canada to review its reservation system within 30 days and make changes that will broaden the type of information available for disabled travellers. The airline must also provide a detailed account of how the system works and “if Air Canada is limited in the services it can add to (the system), it is to provide a detailed explanation as to why this is so.” Laura Cooke an Air Canada spokesperson said the company is studying the ruling. “We are reviewing our on-line offerings for people with special needs in light of the CTA interim decision and will respond directly to the CTA within the required time frame,” she said.   Globe and Mail, July 15, 2005 p.B5    

Have A Go Day!

  Have A Go Day June 11th 2005, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm John Innes Community Centre, Toronto
Have A Go Day June 18th 2005, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Georgian College, Barrie   Have A Go Evening
June 27th 2005, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm South Common Community Centre, Mississauga   Introductory Tennis
Every Monday,
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm L’Amoreaux Tennis Centre, Toronto   FREE! FUN! ALL WELCOME!   For more information and to register contact: Cheryl Heykoop ~ 416-426-7131
Basketball ~ Tennis ~ Rugby ~ Athletics
Come give wheelchair sports a try!!!

Women with Disabilities Action Awareness Group Movie Nights

July 15, September 16 and November 18, Toronto , ON.   WDAAG is hosting movie and munchie nights at the Anne Johnston Health Station!   Women with disabilities and their women allies are invited.   To register, call Lucy at 416-486-8666 ext. 226.